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50 NBA Predictions for 2015-16 (Part 1)

Joel Brigham kicks off Part 1 of his annual 50 predictions article for the 2015-16 NBA season.

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Every year I put together 50 predictions for the season to come, which is really my lone opportunity in a given 12-month period to write something in the first person. These are insanely fun to do until the actual season starts and everything that I thought was going to happen ends up not happening. Actually, truth be told, while I usually only get about half of these right, a lot of the ones that I do miss end up pretty close.

The good news is that whether I nail them or bomb them, I’ll come back to these predictions in the spring to hold myself accountable for what I foolishly thought would happen this season. Right or wrong, we’re all pleased as punch that actual games are just around the corner, which is a perfect time to run these through.

Here’s a look at the first half of my 50 predictions for the 2015-16 NBA season.

Individual Predictions

1. Carmelo Anthony will play 70+ games and finish among the top five in the league in points per game.

2. Pau Gasol, who finished fourth in the league last season with 11.4 RPG, will not finish among the top ten rebounders in the league this season on a per-game basis.

3. Stephen Curry will see small drops in his field goal and three-point field goal percentages this coming year, seeing 2 percent decreases in both.

4. That said, he’ll still make 40 more three-pointers than anybody else in the league.

5. Monta Ellis will be among the top ten scorers in the NBA as the top scorer for the Indiana Pacers.

6. Anthony Davis will finish among the top three in points, rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage.

7. Before his blood clot scare last season, Chris Bosh was averaging 21.1 PPG and 7.0 RPG. He will surpass both numbers this season.

8. Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor will combine for 18+ rebounds per game in Philadelphia this season.

9. Kevin Durant will play 50+ games this season, but not more than 70.

10. Kevin Love will see both his rebounding numbers and his three-pointers per game increase this season.

11. Ty Lawson will score fewer than 15 PPG for the first time since his sophomore season, but he also will average double-digit assists for the first time in his career.

12. Damian Lillard is going to average career highs in points, assists and usage rate.

13. While Andre Drummond may not lead the league in rebounds, the gap between him and league-leader DeAndre Jordan will shrink by half this year.

Team Predictions

14. The Sacramento Kings will be a .500 team this year.

15. The Dallas Mavericks will not.

16. Golden State will take something of a step backward, failing to win 60 regular season games following their championship season a year ago.

17. The L.A. Clippers will have the best record in the Western Conference.

18. Atlanta also is due for a drop-off from last season. They’ll not only fail to win 60 games again this year, they’ll finish no higher than third in the Southeast Division.

19. The best team in that division this year will be the Washington Wizards, who also will finish with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference this year.

20. The San Antonio Spurs will boast the best home record in the NBA this season

21. The Charlotte Hornets will see a 10+ game improvement over last season and will make the playoffs.

22. Despite some measured improvement and loads of hype, the Milwaukee Bucks will not win 50 games this season.

23. With Kobe Bryant healthy, the L.A. Lakers will see a 10-game improvement over last season, but still will fall short of the postseason.

24. The Toronto Raptors will win the Atlantic Division for the third consecutive year.

25. The New York Knicks will finish the year with a better record than the Brooklyn Nets.

Next week, I’ll wrap up the second half of my annual 50 predictions articles. The next 25 deal with potential trades, rookie stuff, awards and a bit of miscellany. Check back next Monday for the next 25 predictions.

Joel Brigham is a senior writer for Basketball Insiders, covering the Central Division and fantasy basketball.

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